Project groups

9-2.7 | Governance of Ecosystem Services: Policy Instruments for their Sustainable Provision

Based on our theoretical work on Ecosystem Services and Social-ecological Systems, we conceptualise ecosystem services as an integrative part of social-ecological systems. With our inter- and transdisciplinary research on Governance of Ecosystem Services we focus on the implications that arise for the development and implementation of policy instruments for the sustainable use of ecosystem services and the conservation of biodiversity, including policy processes leading to their implementation, and the needs for decision support tools in the science-policy interface.
Research projects conducted in the working group have focused on framing specificities of ecosystem services governance and science policy needs; the assessment of opportunities and challenges of finance based mechanisms for biodiversity conservation; the assessment of policy options for national level REDD+ benefit sharing mechanisms (for details, see below)

Governance of Ecosystem Services
The aim of the ongoing project is to frame research needs for improved governance of ecosystem services. Embedded in the Thematic Working Group on Governance and Institutional Aspects of the Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP), we organize a series of workshops for scientists and practitioners on governance of ecosystem services, taking a multidisciplinary view on the emergence, development, and use of policy instruments and governance approaches designed of a sustainable provision of ecosystem services. In particular, we look at the processes leading up to their design and implementation. This includes the identification of socio-ecological context conditions, fostering or hindering institutional factors as well as related interests and power structures of involved actors, their expectations, promises and conflicts. Furthermore we assess how the concept of ecosystem services has been included in existing and newly developed policy instruments, and how this impacts on the provision of ES and the conservation of biodiversity.
Workshops have been conducted at:
• 6th Annual Conference of the Ecosystem Services Partnership on Linking Science Policy and Practice, 26-30 August 2013 in Bali, Indonesia - see
• Interim Workshop on Governance of Ecosystem Services:Challenges for Sustainable Development, 10-11 March 2014 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany ( see
• 7th Annual Conference Ecosystem Services Partnership on Local Action for the Common Good, September 8-12 in San José, Costa Rica - see .
A special issue on the results of these workshops will be published in the Elsevier Journal Ecosystem Services in Summer 2015.
The project is conducted in cooperation with Dr. Carsten Mann (TU Berlin) and Prof.Dr. Bernd Hansjürgens (UFZ Leipzig).

Opportunities and challenges of finance based mechanisms for biodiversity conservation
As a component of the project on Valorization of Biodiversity, a report was prepared for the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag. The report provides an assessment of financial policy instruments for nature conservation and ecosystem services provision, as well as their potentials and challenges. The report is based on a review of the state of the art of research, and includes lessons on similar policy instruments that have been appliedin land use based climate mitigation measures.
The report will be published in early 2015.

REDD+ Benefit Sharing
BiK-F / SGN is involved in the EU-funded project on Opportunities and challenges to developing REDD+ benefit sharing in developing countries, which is lead by the CGIAR Center for International Forestry Research.
The REDD+ Benefit Sharing project contributes towards the overall objective of climate change mitigation by fostering livelihood security of poor forest-dependent communities and improved forest management in selected tropical forest countries. Specifically, the project aims to provide policymakers and practitioners with policy options and guidance to improve the design, development and implementation of REDD+ benefit sharing mechanisms that are equitable, efficient and effective. The evidence-based policy options will be framed by experience and best practices in six focal countries across the Sub-Saharan Africa, South-east Asia and Latin America regions, and draw on analysis, pilot schemes and lessons learned in a larger number of countries. The six focal countries are Indonesia, Vietnam, Brazil, Peru, Tanzania and Cameroon.
Within this project, our research focuses on:
• Conducting high-level stakeholder workshops within the project countries
• Developing a conceptual framework for assessing policy and intervention options for REDD+ benefit sharing mechanisms
• Reviewing experiences with benefit sharing mechanisms in the natural resources sector, in order to draw lessons for the design and implementation of the mechanism at the national and sub-national level
• Reviewing the status of carbon rights legislations in the six focus countries
• Conducting an empirical studyin Vietnam on the impacts of considering stakeholders equity perceptions in incentive based policy instruments
• Contributing to an empirical study in Cameroon on the provision of forest ecosystem services under different governance and property rights regimes, in state, council and community forests

Project Publications
Loft, L., Pham, T.T., Luttrell, C. (2014) : Lessons from Payments for Ecosystem Services for REDD+ Benefit-Sharing Mechanisms. Infobrief no. 68, CIFOR, Bogor, Indonesia.
Luttrell, C., Loft, L.,Gebara, M.F., Kweka, D., Brockhaus, M., Angelsen, A. & W. Sunderlin (2013) : Who Should Benefit from REDD+? Rationales and Realities. - Ecology and Society 18: 52.

Krause, T. & L. Loft (2013) : Benefit Distribution and Equity in Ecuador’s Socio Bosque Program. - Society and Natural Resources: An International Journal 26(10), 1170-1184.
Pham, T.T., Brockhaus, M., Wong, G., Dung, L.N., Tjajadi, J.S., Loft, L., Luttrell C., AssembeMvondo, S. (2013) : Approaches to benefit sharing: A preliminary comparative analysis of 13 REDD+ countries. Working Paper 108, CIFOR, Bogor, Indonesia.
Luttrell, C., Loft, L., Gebara, M.F. & D. Kweka (2012) : Who should benefit and why? Discourses on REDD+ benefit sharing. - In: Angelsen, A., Brockhaus, M., Sunderlin, W.D. & L.V. Verchot (eds) Analysing REDD+: Challenges and choices, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Kap. 8: 129-152.

Loft, L. (2011) : Market mechanisms for financing the reduction of emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries (REDD) – learning from payments for ecosystem services schemes. - International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 7(3): 204-216.

Dr. Lasse Loft

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